Dr . Antonónio Agostino Neto


António Agostinho Neto was born on the 17th of September 1922, in the village of Kaxicane, which is located in the region of Icolo e Bengo, approximately 6 km away from Luanda.
His father was a pastor and teacher of the Protestant Church, and his mother was a teacher. Upon completion of his secondary school studies in Luanda, Agostinho Neto became a prominent figure in the Angola nationalist cultural movement, which was rapidly expanding in the 1940s.
Having decided to pursue a career in medicine, Agostinho Neto raised money and left for Portugal in 1947 to register for medical studies with the University of Coimbra.
He studied in Coimbra and Lisbon on a scholarship provided by the American Methodist Church.
Agostinho Neto was always involved in political activities and was imprisoned for the first time in 1951, as he was collecting signatures for a petition to be presented at the World Conference on Peace in Stockholm. Upon his release, he resumed his political activities and became the representative of the Youth with Portuguese colonies. During a student rally in February 1955 attended by working class and rural people, he was imprisoned for the second time.
This time, he spent two years in prison, and during this time, published the his first of collection of poems.
The imprisonment of Agostinho Neto sparked off protests that had international repercussions. Meetings were held, letters were written and petitions were submitted for his release, many of them signed by international organizations and intellectuals who supported his political journey.
In 1957, he was elected Political Prisoner of the Year by Amnesty International.
In 1958, Agostinho Neto finally obtained his medical degree, and got married on the very day that he completed his programme. In that same year he became one of the founding members of the Clandestine Anti-colonial Movement (MAC) which was made up of various Portuguese colonies.
On the 30th of December 1959, Agostinho Neto returned to Angola with his wife Maria Eugénia and young child. He became the leader of the MPLS (Popular Movement for the Liberation of Angola) and practiced medicine in his free time.
However, on 8 June 1960, the Director of the PIDE (International Police for the Defence of the State or the Portuguese political police, arrived in person to arrest Agostinho Neto in his consulting rooms in Luanda. The PIDE was afraid of the consequences that the presence of Agostinho Neto in Angola could have and therefore transferred him to a prison in Lisbon and later to one in Cape Verde, where he continued to practice medicine under constant police surveillance.
During this period, he was elected Honorary President of the MPLA. He was imprisoned again and transferred to the Aljube prison in Lisbon on 17 October 1960. However, the Portuguese authorities, under immense pressure, were obliged to free Agostinho Neto in the following year. He took advantage of this opportunity to personally assume leadership of the armed struggle for the liberation of Angola.
With the Carnation Revolution and the fall of the Portuguese regime on 25 April 1974, the MPLA decided it was the opportune moment to sign a cease-fire agreement with the Portuguese Government, which it did in October 1974.
Agostinho Neto returned to Luanda on 4 February 1975, to the greatest show of popular support ever witnessed in Angola. He then assumed personal responsibility for all activities relating to the independence of Angola, calling for widespread popular resistance. On 11 November 1975, Agostinho Neto proclaimed the national independence of the People’s Republic